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Iran-Iraq: Panel of experts in U.S. capital condemns Iran meddling in Iraq

From left: Shirin Nariman, Dr. Abdullah Jabouri, Reza Bulorchi and Prof. Steven SchneebaumNCRI, October 18 – A panel of Middle East legal and political experts condemned Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraqi constitution during a conference in the US capital on October 13.

The event, hosted by the Global Coalition Against Fundamentalism, focused on mullahs’ interference in Iraq and the implications of its meddling in the Iraqi constitutional referendum on the main Iranian opposition group, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), based in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

Mrs. Shirin Nariman, the head of Global Coalition Against fundamentalism started the meeting by introducing the goals of the movement and stressed that “We are gathered here primarily to discuss the status of Iranian refugees who are based in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.” She added: “Our organization views the residents of Camp Ashraf as the leading force against fundamentalism that is emanating from Tehran.” She then introduced the speakers and called on Dr. Abdullah Jabouri who was until recently the elected governor of the eastern province of Diyala in Iraq to take the floor.

With a direct experience of dealing with threats of the fundamentalist regime in Iran Dr. Jabouri said: “The Iranian regime has used its proxies in Iraq to meddle even in the writing of the new constitution. As a result, the draft constitution contains a clause that is against international law on political asylum. This is important for us, Iraqis, because we believe that the Iranian opposition PMOI and its allies in the coalition National Council or Resistance of Iran are the best friends of the Iraqis who demand freedom and sovereignty. Last April, 2.8 million Iraqis signed the biggest petition in the history of Iraq and called on the Iraqi government to reaffirm the PMOI’s status as a legitimate resistance movement and the political asylum of its individuals.”

“The Iranian opposition NCRI and PMOI are our allies in this huge struggle for democracy and peace in the Middle East,” Aljubori said, adding that Iran’s meddling in Iraq had given rise to Islamic fundamentalism in the mostly Shiite Muslim country.

Professor Steven Schneebaum, of the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP and an adjunct professor of law at John Hopkins and Cornell universities, addressing the conference, focused on the language of Article 21C of the draft Iraqi constitution. “This section, which concerns the granting of asylum, currently provides that no one may receive political asylum in Iraq if he or she, among other things, has been ‘accused’ of committing international or terror crimes. We would have no quarrel with the blanket denial of asylum eligibility to persons who have been tried and convicted as terrorists. … But neither the Geneva Conventions nor the various international covenants governing the treatment of refugees permit the determination of someone’s status on the basis of what he or she may be accused of having done.”

Reza Bulorchi of U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran said, “Iran’s multi-faceted and multi-pronged campaign of destabilisation in Iraq represents an enormous threat to the future of a stable, peaceful and democratic nation.”

“Tehran’s campaign in Iraq is not just some small scale operation in reaction to the U.S. involvement in Iraq. Businesses, front companies, religious groups, NGOs and aid for schools and universities are all part of the mix,” Bulorchi added.